python – Append a dictionary to a dictionary

The Question :

381 people think this question is useful

I have two existing dictionaries, and I wish to ‘append’ one of them to the other. By that I mean that the key,values of the other dictionary should be made into the first dictionary. For example:

orig = {
   'A': 1,
   'B': 2,
   'C': 3,

extra = {
   'D': 4,
   'E': 5,

dest = # Something here involving orig and extra

print dest
   'A': 1,
   'B': 2,
   'C': 3,
   'D': 4,
   'E': 5

I think this all can be achieved through a for loop (maybe?), but is there some method of dictionaries or any other module that saves this job for me? The actual dictionaries I’m using are really big…

The Question Comments :
  • A few answers point out orig.update(extra) does the job. Do take note that if extra and orig have overlapping keys, the final value will be taken from extra. For example, d1={1: 1, 2: 2}; d2={2: 'ha!', 3: 3}; d1.update(d2) will result in d1 containing {1: 1, 2: 'ha!', 3: 3}.

The Answer 1

561 people think this answer is useful

You can do


or, if you don’t want orig to be modified, make a copy first:

dest = dict(orig)  # or orig.copy()

Note that if extra and orig have overlapping keys, the final value will be taken from extra. For example,

>>> d1 = {1: 1, 2: 2}
>>> d2 = {2: 'ha!', 3: 3}
>>> d1.update(d2)
>>> d1
{1: 1, 2: 'ha!', 3: 3}

The Answer 2

111 people think this answer is useful

The most Pythonic (and slightly faster) way to accomplish this is by:

dest = {**orig, **extra}

Or, depending on the problem to solve, maybe:

dest = {**orig, 'D': 4, 'E': 5}

The Answer 3

26 people think this answer is useful

Assuming that you do not want to change orig, you can either do a copy and update like the other answers, or you can create a new dictionary in one step by passing all items from both dictionaries into the dict constructor:

from itertools import chain
dest = dict(chain(orig.items(), extra.items()))

Or without itertools:

dest = dict(list(orig.items()) + list(extra.items()))

Note that you only need to pass the result of items() into list() on Python 3, on 2.x dict.items() already returns a list so you can just do dict(orig.items() + extra.items()).

As a more general use case, say you have a larger list of dicts that you want to combine into a single dict, you could do something like this:

from itertools import chain
dest = dict(chain.from_iterable(map(dict.items, list_of_dicts)))

The Answer 4

20 people think this answer is useful

dict.update() looks like it will do what you want…

>> orig.update(extra)
>>> orig
{'A': 1, 'C': 3, 'B': 2, 'E': 5, 'D': 4}

Perhaps, though, you don’t want to update your original dictionary, but work on a copy:

>>> dest = orig.copy()
>>> dest.update(extra)
>>> orig
{'A': 1, 'C': 3, 'B': 2}
>>> dest
{'A': 1, 'C': 3, 'B': 2, 'E': 5, 'D': 4}

The Answer 5

9 people think this answer is useful

A three-liner to combine or merge two dictionaries:

dest = {}

This creates a new dictionary dest without modifying orig and extra.

Note: If a key has different values in orig and extra, then extra overrides orig.

The Answer 6

7 people think this answer is useful

There is the .update() method 🙂

update([other]) Update the dictionary with the key/value pairs from other, overwriting existing keys. Return None.

update() accepts either another dictionary object or an iterable of key/value pairs (as tuples or other iterables of length two). If keyword arguments are specified, the dictionary is then updated with those key/value pairs: d.update(red=1, blue=2).

Changed in version 2.4: Allowed the argument to be an iterable of key/value pairs and allowed keyword arguments.

The Answer 7

7 people think this answer is useful

The answer I want to give is “use collections.ChainMap”, but I just discovered that it was only added in Python 3.3:

You can try to crib the class from the 3.3 source though:

Here is a less feature-full Python 2.x compatible version (same author):

Instead of expanding/overwriting one dictionary with another using dict.merge, or creating an additional copy merging both, you create a lookup chain that searches both in order. Because it doesn’t duplicate the mappings it wraps ChainMap uses very little memory, and sees later modifications to any sub-mapping. Because order matters you can also use the chain to layer defaults (i.e. user prefs > config > env).

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